A Visa model for scaling moderation

This weekend I mostly ended up thinking about quality of content, primarily due to some things I was reading/listening to:

  • Mark Little’s (CEO Kinzen) great summary of the containment trends around content infodemics (I love this term)
  • China announced new content moderation rules to regulate live-selling on streaming services
  • Acquired’s interview with Rec Room’s CEO Nick Fajt about building creator economies

It’s clear the consequences of bad quality (inaccurate, false) content are increasing. It’s equally obvious the means of production (tools, distribution) of bad quality content are also increasing.

I’m generally not a huge fan of top down regulation of technology problems. Although there have been successes (e.g. kids digital privacy laws), it feels like we don’t have anywhere near the level of technical expertise and experience in most western governments relative to what is required. However private companies haven’t exactly proven adept at solving challenges like this either.

Maybe it’s time to try something more radical? In the sixties, Visa was born as an organisation backed by all the major banks but without any one having control. It was to all intents and purposes independent, designed to sustain a credit card ecosystem without the bias of the established banking institutions. I wonder if something similar would work with the challenge of content moderation? A dedicated content moderation organisation, backed and integrated by all platforms (FB, Google, Amazon, Apple etc) ensuring published content is factually correct, but crucially which is not controlled by any single entity (Visa asked for and received an anti-trust waiver as the organisation was being set up).

I don’t think I’m comparing the quality of content to credit scores (more the organisational challenges) but it feels like there might be some merit there too. I wonder who is moderation’s Dee Hock?

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